« ForrigeFortsett »
have been justly due to my memory on that account; but now, when I voluntarily resign to you what I might have still retained, I may well expect the warmest expressions of thanks on your part. With these, however, I dispense; and shall consider your concern for the welfare of your subjects, and your love of them, as the best and most acceptable testimony of your gratitude to me. It is in your power, by a wise and virtuous administration to justify the extraordinary proof which I give this day of my paternal affection, and to demonstrate that you are worthy of the confidence which I repose in you. Preserve an inviolable regard for religion; maintain the Catholic faith in its purity; let the laws of your country be sacred in your eyes; encroach not on the rights and privileges of your people; and if the time shall ever come, when you shall wish to enjoy the tranquillity of private life, may you have a son endowed with such qualities, that you can resign your sceptre to him, with as much satisfaction as I give up mine to you.'
As soon as Charles had finished this long address to his subjects, and to their new sovereign, he sunk into the chair, exhausted and ready to faint with the fatigue of so extraordinary an effort. During his discourse, the whole audience melted into tears; some from admiration of his magnanimity; others softened by the expressions of tenderness towards his son, and of love to his people; and all were affected with the deepest sorrow, at losing a sovereign, who had distinguished the Netherlands, his native country, with particular. marks of his regard and attachment.
The same subject continued.
A FEW weeks after the resignation of the Netherlands, Charles, in an assembly no less splendid, and with
a ceremonial equally pompous, resigned to his son the crowns of Spain, with all the territories depending on them, both in the old and in the new world. Of all these vast possessions, he reserved nothing for himself, but an annual pension of a hundred thousand crowns, to defray the charges of his family, and to afford him a small sum for acts of beneficence and charity.
Nothing now remained to detain him from that retreat for which he languished. Every thing having been prepared some time for his voyage, he set out for Zuitburgh in Zealand, where the fleet had orders. to rendezvous. In his way thither, he passed through Ghent and after stopping there a few days, to indulge that tender and pleasing melancholy, which arises in the mind of every man in the decline of life, on visiting the place of his nativity, and viewing the scenes and objects familiar to him in his early youth, he pursued his journey, accompanied by his son Philip, his daughter the arch.duchess, his sisters the dowager queens of France and Hungary, Maximilian his son-inlaw, and a numerous retinue of the Flemish nobility. Before he went on board, he dismissed them, with marks of his attention or regard; and taking leave of Philip with all the tenderness of a father who embraced his son for the last time, he set sail under convoy of a large fleet of Spanish, Flemish, and English ships.
His voyage was prosperous and agreeable; and he arrived at Laredo in Biscay, on the eleventh day after he left Zealand. As soon as he landed, he fell prostrate on the ground; and considering himself now as dead to the world, he kissed the earth, and said, "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked I now return to thee, thou common mother of mankind." From Laredo he proceeded to Valladolid. There he took a last and tender leave of his two sisters; whom he would not permit to accompany him to his solitude, though they entreated it with tears :
not only that they might have the consolation of contributing, by their attendance and care, to mitigate or to sooth his sufferings, but that they might reap instruction and benefit, by joining with him in those pious exercises, to which he had consecrated the remainder of his days.
From Valladolid, he continued his journey to Plazencia in Estremadura. He had passed through that city a great many years before; and having been struck at that time with the delightful situation of the monastery of St. Justus, belonging to the order of St. Jerome, not many miles distant from that place, he had then observed to some of his attendants, that this was a spot to which Dioclesian might have retired with pleasure. The impression had remained so strong on his mind, that he pitched upon it as the place of his retreat. It was seated in a vale of no great extent, watered by a small brook, and surrounded by rising grounds, covered with lofty trees. From the nature of the soil, as well as the temperature of the climate, it was esteemed the most healthful and dilicious situation in Spain. Some months before his resignation, he had sent an architect thither, to add a new apartment to the monastery, for his accommodation; but he gave strict orders that the style of the building should be such as suited his present station, rather than his former dignity. It consisted only of six rooms, four of them in the form of friars' cells, with naked walls; the other two, each twenty feet square, were hung with brown cloth, and furnished in the most simple manner. They were all on a level with the ground; with a door on one side into a garden, of which Charles himself had given the plan, and had filled it with various plants, which he proposed to cultivate with his own hands. On the other side, they communicated with the chapel of the monastery, in which he was to perform his devotions. Into this humble retreat, hardly sufficient for the comfortable
accommodation of a private gentleman, did Charles enter, with twelve domestics only. He buried there, in solitude and silence, his grandeur, his ambition, together with all those vast projects, which during half a century, had alarmed and agitated Europe; filling every kingdom in it, by turns, with the terror of his arms, and the dread of being subjected to his power.
In this retirement, Charles formed such a plan of life for himself, as would have suited the condition of a private person of a moderate fortune. His table was neat but plain; his domestics few; his intercourse with them familiar; all the cumbersome and ceremonious forms of attendance on his person were entirely abolished, as destructive of that social ease and tranquillity, which he courted, in order to sooth the remainder of his days. As the mildness of the elimate, together with his deliverance from his burdens and cares of government, procured him, at first, a considerable remission from the acute pains with which he had been long tormented, he enjoyed, perhaps, more complete satisfaction in this humble solitude, than all his grandeur. had ever yielded him. The ambitious thoughts and projects which had so long engrossed and disquieted him, were quite effaced from his mind. Far from taking any part in the political transactions of the princes of Europe, he restrained his curiosity even from any inquiry concerning them; and he seemed to view the busy scene which he had abandoned, with all the contempt and indifference arising from his thorough experience of its vanity, as well as from the pleasing reflection of having disentangled himself from it cares.
PIECES IN POETRY.
SELECT SENTENCES AND PARAGRAPHS
'Tis education forms the common mind;
Just as the twig is bent, the tree's inclin'd.
With pleasure let us own our errors past;
A soul without reflection, like a pile
The private path, the secret acts of men,
In the firft chapter, the Compiler has exhibited a confiderable variety of poetical conftruction, for the young reader's preparatory exercife.